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Copyright Registration in India: Step-by-Step Guide

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Lokesh Pal

December 6, 2023

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Copyright Registration in India: Step-by-Step Guide

With the passage of time, people are engaging themselves in creating exclusive content and sharing it across digital platforms to reach their wider audience.

This has made it easier for people to use other’s copyrighted content illegally.

Thus, obtaining registration of copyright for your creative content will not only provide you with a legal benefit but also help you protect your work from being utilised illegally by someone else.

Copyright registration in India is a very important process for those who wish to protect their creative works from being used without their consent.

By registering a work with the Indian Copyright Office, creators can legally defend their rights if anyone tries to use their content without permission.

This article will walk you through the process of copyright registration in India.

Why Consider Registering Your Work Under Copyright Law?

While it’s not obligatory to register for copyright protection, it’s highly recommended.

Registering provides the owner with essential rights over their work and guarantees protection against unauthorised copying for a specified duration.

This sense of security often serves as motivation for the creator to continue producing more work and generating additional content.

Who Can Register a Work?

Not everyone can claim copyright for their work.

Let’s explore who has the legal entitlement to obtain copyright protection:

  1. The Author:
    • The author is the individual who actually created the work.
    • If the work was created during the scope of employment, the employer is considered the author in a scenario known as ‘work made for hire.’ In this case, the employer holds the copyright.
  2. The Owner of Exclusive Rights:
    • Copyright law provides individuals with the exclusive authority to manage, utilise, and distribute an original piece of work.
    • These rights encompass reproducing or making copies of the work, distributing copies, publicly displaying the work, performing the work, and creating derivatives.
    • The person possessing these exclusive rights can apply to register their claim to the work.
  3. The Copyright Claimant:
    • The copyright claimant could be either the author or a person/organisation that has acquired ownership rights from the author through a written contract or a will.
  4. The Authorised Agent:
    • This refers to any person authorised to act on behalf of the author, copyright claimant, or owner of an exclusive right.

It’s important to note that there is no age restriction for obtaining copyright protection. Minors are also entitled to register a copyright because copyright law acknowledges creativity without age limitations.

Additionally, if a work is created by multiple individuals, they are considered co-owners by default unless they have established a different agreement among themselves.

Required Documents for Copyright Registration

Before we delve into the registration process under the Indian Copyright Act of 1957, it’s essential to understand the necessary documents needed for a seamless registration.

While specific requirements may vary based on the type of work, the fundamental documents include:

  1. Copies of the Work:
    • If the work is published, provide 3 copies.
    • For unpublished works, submit 2 copies of the manuscripts.
  2. Power of Attorney or Vakalatnama:
    • If an attorney is filing the application, include a special power of attorney or vakalatnama signed by both the attorney and the party.
  3. Authorisation for Non-Applicant Work:
    • If the work isn’t created by the applicant, include authorisation documents.
  4. Work Details:
    • Specify the title and language of the work.
  5. Applicant Information:
    • Include the name, address, nationality, mobile number, and email address of the applicant.
  6. Author Information:
    • If the applicant isn’t the author, provide basic details about the author, including name, address, nationality, and, if deceased, the date of death.
  7. No-Objection Certificates (NOCs):
    • If the work will be used on a product, obtain an NOC from the trademark office.
    • If the applicant isn’t the author, secure an NOC from the author. Authorisation from the author may also be necessary.
  8. Model Release (for Photos):
    • If a person’s photo appears in the work, obtain an NOC from that individual.
  9. Publisher’s NOC (if applicable):
    • If the publisher is not the applicant, provide an NOC from the publisher.
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  10. Publication Information:
    • For published works, specify the year and address of the first publication.
    • Include details about subsequent publications, including the year and country.
  11. Software Copyright (if applicable):
    • When applying for copyright for software, it is necessary to include both the source code and object code.

These documents are crucial for a smooth copyright registration process under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957.

How to Obtain Copyright Registration in India: Step-by-Step

To secure copyright, follow these copyright registration procedure statuses:

Step 1: Filing a Copyright Application for Registration

You can file a copyright application online or offline, making copyright protection accessible to all.

Procedure for Copyright Registration Online

  1. To register as a user, start by visiting the copyright portal and providing your basic information to create a user profile.
  2. Form Submission: Complete Form XIV for copyright registration, attaching the required documents and prescribed fees. Upon submission, you’ll receive a Diary Number. Following this, you’ll need to send physical copies of your work to the copyright office.

Offline Registration Procedure

For offline copyright registration, user registration is not required. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Document Submission: Submit the relevant documents, Form XIV, and a statement of particulars in a physical format to the registry. Include a demand draft (DD) for the prescribed fee. This can be done by visiting the copyright office or sending the documents via registered or speed post.
  2. Work Submission: Alongside the documents, send a copy of your work to the copyright office.

Step 2: Assessment of the Application

Upon submitting your work in Step 1, all applications undergo a mandatory 30-day waiting period, during which objections can be raised.

If a Third Party Objects

  • In the event of a third-party objection, a notice of hearing is sent out, where both parties have the opportunity to present their arguments, and a decision is reached based on the submissions.

If No Objection is Raised

  • The officer assigned to your application scrutinises all documents and the creative work. There are two possible outcomes:
    • If discrepancies are found, a letter of discrepancy is issued. You must respond to this letter, and a hearing may be conducted. If you resolve the issues during the hearing, your application proceeds.
    • If no discrepancies are found, the application advances to the next stage.

Step 3: Registration

Once any objections are resolved, the copyright officer issues a certificate of registration. The duration of the entire copyright registration process depends on the copyright office’s decision. However, if no discrepancies are found, the certificate is typically issued within four to five months.

Note: You can check the status of a copyright registration application at any point by visiting the copyright portal.

Advantages of Copyright Registration

  1. Public Record of Ownership: Copyright registration creates a public record, solidifying the ownership of your work.
  2. Authors have legal options available to them in cases of copyright violation, such as suing infringers, protecting their work, and seeking statutory compensation.
  3. Copyright holders have the option to register their copyrights with Indian customs in order to prevent the importation of unauthorised duplicate copies of their work.
  4. Control Over By-Products: Copyright registration grants control over any by-products or derivatives derived from the original work, allowing for commercial utilisation.
  5. The individual who owns the copyright has the choice to transfer or sell their rights to another person or entity.
  6. Ensured Protection: Copyright registration provides security, allowing owners to showcase their work without fear of unauthorised replication.

Why Do We Have a Copyright Registrar?

The main role of the copyright registrar is to serve as a repository for copyright claims and related documents. It acts as an official record-keeping office where information about copyright laws and the registration process is made available.

Additionally, it manages the operations of the copyright office, preserving public records and providing valuable information to the public.

Conclusion

Copyright registration in India plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the creative endeavors of its people.

The application for registration, whether for books, software products, artistic contents, copyrighted song lyrics, or copyright videos, opens up a 60-year period or more of legal protection.

This not only preserves the designs of creativity but also fosters an environment where the benefits of copyright registration are accessible to all.

In the context of copyright laws, the register of copyrights serves as a valuable resource for resolving copyright disputes and ensuring the continuation of copyright ownership.

The process of online copyright registration is a testament to India’s commitment to protecting the rights of creators.

It empowers individuals to secure their intellectual property, enabling them to pursue copyright infringement lawsuits if necessary.

Ultimately, copyright registration in India underscores the nation’s dedication to nurturing and preserving the rich tapestry of creativity that thrives within its borders.

FAQs

What is copyright registration in India?

Copyright registration is a legal process to protect the creative work of individuals in India.

Why is copyright registration important?

It provides legal protection, establishes ownership, and enables creators to enforce their rights.

What can be copyrighted in India?

Books, software, artistic works, song lyrics, cinematography films, and various creative content can be copyrighted.

What is the requirement for registering multiple works with the registrar?

To secure registration for each individual work, you need to file a separate application for copyright registration containing the specific details of the work with the registrar.

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